Wednesday, June 13, 2012

If the shoe fits

Those who know me best probably are aware that when it comes to money, I err on the side of thrifty—which is really just a polite way of saying that I’m kind of cheap.

But just because I’m careful with my money doesn’t mean I don’t splurge every now and then, especially on something important. Like, on a scale of George Costanza to MC Hammer, I’d say that I fall somewhere right around Matt Lauer.

Matt would never squander his millions on a lavish mansion and a 40-person entourage, but I bet those suave suits and ties he dons on TV each morning don’t come from Men’s Wearhouse. (By the way, that’s not a typo—they really spell warehouse that way. So clever!)

Well, I’m no hot-in-an-older-and-more-professionally-distinguished-sort-of-way morning news anchor, so when it comes to work attire, my Old Navy slacks will do just fine. Running shoes, on the other hand, are something I’m willing to drop some dollars on.

My favorite shoe model—Asics Cumulus—usually runs somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 at my local running store. It’s not cheap, and each time I hand over my debit card to purchase a new pair, I die a little inside. But even though I know I could find them cheaper online, I take comfort in the fact that I’m supporting a local business that in turn supports the local running community. The warm fuzzies are almost enough to stop my left eye from twitching when I read my bank statement.

The other day, however, I was faced with a serious moral dilemma, and in hindsight, I’m pretty sure I failed whatever character test the universe was trying to impose on me.

You see, I have to be in a wedding next week, and since I’m pretty sure the bride would not appreciate me ruining the photographs from the most important day of her life with a pair of unsightly Dansko sandals, I am in need of a proper pair of dress shoes.

Knowing that I probably will never wear these shoes again, I set out to buy the most comfortable, inexpensive-but-not-cheap-looking pair of heels I could find. Turns out, this task was virtually impossible because (a) “comfortable heels” is an oxymoron, (b) my foot is too fat to fit into dainty lady-shoes and (c) the bridesmaid dresses are fuchsia, and seriously, what color shoes are you supposed to wear with a fuchsia dress at a summer wedding?

By the time I walked into Famous Footwear, I was at the end of my rope. I thought shoes would be the least of my worries at this wedding. I’m still trying to figure out how I’m going to keep myself from sweating so there won’t be a host of nasty splotches all over my fuchsia dress.

After perusing the regular aisles and coming up empty-handed, I marched back to my favorite section of the store: the clearance rack. And there they were on the top shelf, like a shining beacon of light in a dark sea of hideous, out-of-season footwear: a pair of Asics Cumulus, in my size, for $80.

At first, I was convinced that it was a trick. I had always thought of Famous Footwear as the kind of place that sold Skechers Shape-Ups—and let’s face it, you just don’t go looking for a pair of real athletic shoes at a place that sells Skechers Shape-Ups. You just don’t.

I reached out and touched the box, half-expecting it to vaporize or turn into a pair of glute-toning shoes that Kim Kardashian promotes but would never be caught dead in outside of a contractually obligated appearance. Neither occurred. Still skeptical about their authenticity, I slipped them on and did a quick jog down the aisle. Yep, they were definitely the real thing.

My lips curled into a slightly evil grin of victory. As I walked up to the cash register, my chest puffed out in pride, I really felt like I was sticking it to the man. After I signed my name on the receipt, however, I felt a pang of guilt. Because in reality, I wasn’t sticking it to the man—I was sticking it to the local economy. And that made me feel like an asshole.

Fortunately, the small, liberal, corporate-America-hating part of me was quickly overpowered by the larger, bargain-loving, George Costanza part of me.

In fact, in the spirit of my George Costanza tendencies, I might just wear a pair of Timberlands to the wedding.   


  1. Any post with Costanza and MC Hammer is automatically topping my favorite list. I love bargains and being cheap.

    The only thing that could for sure go with fuchsia is something nude or skin color. Right? Maybe? You definitely won't need flashy shoes!

    1. Nude would be good. I just have to find a pair that doesn't make my sock tan so obvious. (And by sock tan, I mean sock burn because I don't tan.)

  2. Oooh, sock tans - hmm.
    I discovered a magical pair of Kate Spade patent heels in black last year 70% off (no cute peek-a-boos with my nasty running feet). They make me look great - my feet despise them. I had no problem paying less for the beautiful people's shoes.
    But as far as running shoes go - heck yeah, sky's the limit. I think it's great that you found your shoes discounted!!